Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A+ in Electrical Wiring

If you need some electrical work done, I've got the person for you: Mark the Electrician! Yes, Mark did all the work (I tried to assist, but sometimes I felt I was more in the way) and the inspector thought it was PERFECT!
But I should start at the beginning. We needed to add 5 new circuits: 4 to the kitchen and 1 to the office. This is because we got new appliances, and each requires pretty much its own circuit. A kitchen, according to The Code, also needs to have at least two circuits for the countertop outlets. We thought we'd get an electrician to do most of the work, but somehow ended up having to do it all by ourselves (electricians are very busy these days, apparently).
In order to get all the wiring done we had to break holes in the walls, remove some old outlets, put knew ones, run wires through the studs, etc. Better I explain it with pictures!
So here's what our kitchen looks like now:

Hopefully you can read the text in the callouts. It explains what each electrical element is for. You can definitely see the absence of a sink - we kept it as long as we could, but finally had to get rid of it on Sunday before the plumber's arrival.

Here are some details of the big picture:

On the right you can see a hole where an old outlet was removed. Next is the refrigerator's outlet, with its own circuit. Then our first ground fault protected outlet that we connected to an existing circuit, and that feeds the rest of the outlet on this wall and the next (total of 4 outlets).

Here you can see the old oven outlet, which was connected to the same circuit as all the other countertop outlets. This outlet will be removed and the box will be covered and hidden behind the oven. Above it is the microwave outlet that will reside inside a cabinet. We got an over-the-range microwave, and it will be connected to wall and to the cabinet above it. I bet it'll be neat! Below is the new oven outlet, connected to the microwave circuit. We have a gas oven, so it doesn't take much electricity. You can also see a part of the new gas pipe that the plumber installed - nice and yellow.

This is where the sink used to be. Lloyd the plumber removed old pipes and put shiny new ones. Don't they look good?
on both sides of the corner are two more outlets connected to the same GFCI, and on the lower left is the dishwasher outlet, that will be share a circuit with an outlet to a disposal, that we are not going to install. This outlet will be inside the sink cabinet.

Two light switches that will connect to under-the-cabinet lights and final outlet inside a junction box where all the indoor Romex wires (yellow) connect to the outdoor ones (grey). The wires go up and to through the wall to the garage, where they are running along the ceiling. From there they go outside and run along the wall under the eaves all the way to a conduit that is connected to the main service panel.

First we had to remove the LB that connects the AC conduit to the panel. It used to be where the little hole is now at the bottom, blocking all access to knock-outs. Only then could attach our new conduits in.

Attaching the new circuit breakers was my most worrisome part. One has to be careful not to touch the exposed live wires that are connected to the main circuit breaker. Fortunately, there was a very small part of them that was exposed, so it wasn't too bad. Just in case, though, Mark stood on a wood board while working on the panel, and I had a wood stick on hand to hit him with in case of an accident. I was relieved when this part of the electrical work was done!

The work also involved digging into the brick walls, because we're adding cabinets to the north wall, and they require outlets and a new circuit.

We drilled two holes in the wall, and widened them with a chisel. It took a long time...
And this is what it looks like from the outside:

I should say something about getting an inspection. We got a lot of raised eyebrows from different people when we told them we're getting an inspector. Apparently not many people get inspections for small projects. We were worried at first, because getting an inspection means you have to know all the rules specified in The Code, and there are so many things that no one could tell us if they are acceptable or not, because they vary with inspectors. We had to do a lot of research. We were also worried about the required procedure of acquiring a permit, and about the expense. It turned out not to be too bad. I had to draw plans of the kitchen and where each electrical element is to go (outlets, switches, lights, etc.) and mark them with the right circuit number. Turns out the guy at the Residential Review was pretty impressed with my plan. The pricing for the permit is hard to figure out. There's a 40-page pdf file on their website that tells you how much you have to pay for each outlet and switch, and for a visit, but it's really hard to figure out the final number. We thought it would be around $200, but it came up to $76.
So getting the permit was not a big deal, and I'm glad we got the work inspected, because otherwise, if something happens and there's a fire, the new work would have invalidated the insurance on the house.

Anyway, did I mention the inspector was very impressed with the work? Of course I knew he would be - after all, Mark is a perfectionist, and now he's also an electrician :)


  1. Looks like you guys are getting quite a bit done on the house now! Way to go! I'm impressed! :) Mike and I would definitely not be able to do all of that ourselves. Yikes!
    Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing more updates!

  2. Electricity! Ah! So brave!

    Considering the state of your kitchen... where are you eating these days?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.